Mastercard, Visa investigate financial ties with Pornhub

WION Web Team
California, United States Published: Dec 07, 2020, 07:19 PM(IST)

Mastercard Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Mastercard said it does not tolerate illegal activity on its payment network, and that it works with law enforcement and organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to detect illegal transactions

Credit card giants Visa and Mastercard are investigating their business relationship with Pornhub after a New York Times columnist alleged that the pornographic website shows videos of rape and underage sex.

Mastercard said it does not tolerate illegal activity on its payment network, and that it works with law enforcement and organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to detect illegal transactions. Pornhub has denied it allows child videos on its site.

"We are examining the charges brought up in the New York Times and are working with MindGeek's bank to comprehend this circumstance, notwithstanding different advances they have just taken," Mastercard said in an articulation. "In the event that the cases are validated, we will make a prompt move." 

Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist at The New York Times, wrote Friday that Pornhub carries rape scenes, revenge pornography and other examples of explicit video taken without consent of the participants.

Pornhub said it is “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue” to suggest that it allows images of the sexual abuse of children on its site. Pornhub added that it employs moderators to screen every upload and that it removes illegal material.

The online payment service PayPal last year stopped processing payments to Pornhub, which is owned by the pornography conglomerate MindGeek. The columnist called out other card issuers for working with the site.

In response to Kristof’s story, Visa and Mastercard said they’re investigating the matter.

“We are aware of the allegations, and we are actively engaging with the relevant financial institutions to investigate, in addition to engaging directly with the site’s parent company, MindGeek,” Visa said Sunday.

Visa added that if Pornhub is violating the law or bank policies, then the website will be prohibited from accepting Visa payments.

Meanwhile, Mastercard promised “immediate action″ if the allegations are substantiated.

“We are investigating the allegations raised in the New York Times and are working with MindGeek’s bank to understand this situation,” Mastercard said in a statement.

Processing payments for pornography websites has long divided the payments and banking industry, and sex workers have claimed they’ve had their bank accounts shut down after lenders learned of their profession.

PayPal Holdings Inc. doesn’t process payments for Pornhub.com. American Express Co.’s cards aren’t accepted on Pornhub, and a spokeswoman on Saturday said the firm has a longstanding policy that prohibits card acceptance on digital adult content websites.

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